For the past several weeks, my Facebook feed has been filled with posts from friends who’ve had a blast running in races all over the country. On TV, I’ve tuned in watch the Berlin and Chicago. And the Breaking2 documentary came out online.
All of these offer up motivation and inspiration.
But the past week also brought a significant step forward for me personally.
Recovery from surgery, and the start of rehabilitation, took some time, but I can finally report real progress in my quest to return to running.
When I lace up my shoes, I’m not quite ready to head out for a run. Instead, I find myself stretching and heading to the gym for a date with the elliptical machine and some core strengthening exercises. One morning I visited a physical therapist to make sure I’m incorporating the right stretching and hip strengthening exercises.
Most of my movements are now pain-free and I’m not gasping for my breath during my elliptical workouts. Each day I feel a bit stronger and that’s left me energized. Soon, I will be back out on the roads and plodding along on the treadmill — all while doing the ancillary exercises and tasks that will make me a better runner.
When that first long run arrives on the calendar — hopefully one stretching 10 miles or more — by December, there will be some anxiety. But a holistic and grounded approach has been helpful. My goal was to weather the emotional aspect of surgery, limited activity and rehab by maintaining a realistic perspective on the future and setting tangible, achievable goals. It started with an appreciation that surgery offered both an opportunity to heal and return as a new and improved version of my running self.
Photo credit: Runners start the Chicago Marathon at Grant Park on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. Patrick Gorski / USA TODAY Sports